A Musing: Literary Knits


Book lovers who knit, have I got a book for you! Literary Knits by Nikol Lohr is a wonderous collection of knitting patterns inspired by her favorite books. Lohr has designed beautiful, creative, customizable, and eminently knitable patterns and talks about the books she chose with a fierce love and razor-sharp perception. In her preface, she muses about why knitting and literature go so well together:

Perhaps it’s because both reading and knitting demand imagination, focus, a willing suspension of disbelief, and a bit of nerdiness.

I couldn’t agree more! I love reading about why these books inspire her and matter to her. I especially love Lohr’s  funny and down to earth manner, like when she says Daisy in the Great Gatsby becomes “a drag…but she does always look good.”  I was nodding my head and smiling  when she describes Jane Eyre, after she gives Mrs. Reed the what’s-what as “a pint-sized goddess of justice.” She designed a puff sleeved sweater for dear Anne Shirley (my heart!) and even SHOWS YOU HOW TO KNIT A MORSE CODE MESSAGE INTO A COWL À LA A TALE OF TWO CITIES.

I repeat.

She shows you how to knit a morse code message into a cowl à la a Tale of Two Cities.

If that doesn’t excite your knitterly bookish heart, I don’t know what will.

There are patterns for men, women, and children (and she even gives you tips for making the little ones bigger and the bigger ones littler — there are a number of children’s and men’s patterns in the book I’m itching to make for myself!). There are ribbons and frills, and there are intarsia bugs (Kafka, you know!). She also gives you a section on recommended reading (where to find bookish and knitting inspiration) and a fantastic section on the special techniques she uses in her knitting.

Best of all, the book is not only making me want to knit, but making me want to read. There is a Moby Dick pattern, and that book is on my Classics Club list for a reread. How nice would it be to read it as I knit my very own fisherman’s sweater? They would probably take the same amount of time (i.e. LOOOOOONG). I have never read the Tin Drum, and Lohr said that the book “annihilated” her. I can’t think of a stronger recommendation.

I love this book for a million, zillion reasons and am so glad it is part of my library. Hooray for Nicole Lohr and Literary Knits!


  1. Leah

    I just learned to knit, and this book sounds great! I’ll have to see of my library has it. What a great way to combine two loves!

    • jackiemania

      I’ve noticed a few pattern collections with this general theme, but this is the one I really felt was of a like mind. She really took the novels into consideration and wrote the most about the actual stories and characters. I hope you’re able to find it!

    • jackiemania

      She gives you two lines from A Tale of Two Cities to choose from, and also gives the code for custom messages. I probably couldn’t resist doing one of the Tale of Two Cities quotes since I’m so crazy for Dickens.

  2. Alex in Leeds

    I am a hopelessly clumsy person so when I finally learn to knit I am going to need quirky books like this to keep me going, thanks for highlighting this one it sounds ace. 🙂

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